By: Malcolm X. Cromwell | Doug Ross @ Journal
Two-and-one-half months before last week’s Iowa Caucus, columnist S.A. Miller of The Washington Times noted what could be called “The Trump Effect” on poll numbers with an article entitled “Donald Trump seen unlikely to win in Iowa despite poll numbers“:
Laura Kamienski, a Republican Party caucus precinct representative for Hiawatha District in Cedar Rapids … said she expects a surprise in the caucus this cycle similar to former Sen. Rick Santorum’s unexpected win in 2012. Mr. Santorum is back in the 2016 Republican race but is polling near the bottom of the crowded field in Iowa and nationally.
…Pollsters defended their survey methods and stood by their numbers. But some credited Mr. Trump’s dominance in polls to his near-universal name recognition as star of the hit TV shows “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski dismissed any doubt about the poll numbers. He said it was coming from the same “political pundits who have been wrong every step of the way” about Mr. Trump’s candidacy, including predicting he would fade after the summer… He also noted that they had hired the Iowa organizer from Mr. Santrorum’s 2012 campaign, Chuck Laudner, who is considered one of the most formidable grass-roots organizers and get-out-the-vote strategists in the state.
At the time, Trump and Carson were dominating the polls in Iowa. As it turned out, Kamienski — who pointed out that she had seen no real evidence of large-scale Trump support — astutely predicted a surprise in February. That turned out to be case as Ted Cruz walked away the victor by a significant margin.
The critical question that Miller and others have raised is the possibility that some poll respondents choose Trump based not upon policy positions but because they recognize his name.
In my non-scientific discussions with various registered voters, I have discovered a rather significant percentage who are unfamiliar with the name of any GOP candidate, except for that of Donald Trump.
Mention Trump’s name, however, and you see faces light up. The recognition and the reality show association is immediate. Quite a few are able to parrot Trump’s (in)famous quote from The Apprentice — “You’re fired!” — but know little else of the candidate’s background or political preferences.
Of course, many Trump advocates are quite familiar with the candidate and are certainly energized to vote. A Trump advocate observed after a November speech by the GOP frontrunner that many of the attendees “are not simply gawkers or fans of his TV shows.”
I suspect that many of these people are frustrated with the additional burdens and strife that Obama and the federal government have inflicted upon them; they are turning out as a result of Trump’s fame and the role he portrayed on his reality television show.
The term “low-information voter” may be too harsh, but I suspect that many Trump supporters feel the increased problems weighing them down but they can’t exactly identify the cause nor the origin of their problems.
They are not aware of imminent crises here and abroad, but they have then taken Trump’s reality show role and are applying it to the real world. They then conclude in their own minds that whatever the reason for the problems, Donald has always been successful dealing with it on TV and they extend that notion to Donald being the answer in present world circumstances.
These folks have stayed glued to the television for so long that they are convinced that the Donald is the solution to their problems. They have, however, come to the realization that they cannot change the channel.
With that said, it is also likely that many poll respondents who offer Trump as their preferred candidate do so only because they recognize his name.
This could provide insight into Trump’s inability to meet the pollsters’ predictions in Iowa and it could portend further disappointment for the billionaire real estate investor.
By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media
Responding to one of Anderson Cooper’s softball questions, socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told the CNN Town Hall on Wednesday night that he lives a frugal life and indicated that he doesn’t care about money or status. “I have a small Chevrolet,” he said. “It is one of the smallest Chevys that they make.” He said it was about five years old.
But James O’Brien, a political consultant and former publisher ofCampaigns & Elections magazine, says the career politician, who has been a mayor, member of Congress and U.S. senator, has achieved the financial status of a millionaire.
O’Brien has analyzed the financial status of Sanders and his wife, including their financial disclosure report, and has concluded they have a net worth in the range of $1.2 to $1.5 million, not the $700,000 or less that is usually reported by the media.
Rather than “Feel the Bern,” the phrase associated with popular support for the self-declared “democratic socialist,” O’Brien says that Sanders is personally “Feelin’ the Wealth.”
Equally significant, his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, left her position as president of Burlington College under controversial circumstances and is now being accused of federal bank fraud. She left her position at the college and was given a severance package known as a “golden parachute” that also benefited Senator Sanders’ personal wealth.
Brady C. Toensing, a partner with the law firm of diGenova & Toensing, has filed alegal complaint with federal authorities requesting an investigation into apparent federal bank fraud committed by Ms. Sanders. His complaint was sent to Eric S. Miller, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, and Fred W. Gibson, Jr., Acting Inspector General with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
A Sanders spokesman told the Burlington Free Press that the complaint was an effort to throw mud at the presidential candidate.
O’Brien says that Sanders’ financial disclosure forms are incomplete. “For someone who doesn’t care about money, he goes a long way to cover up his true net worth,” he says. “Bernie does not disclose the value of real estate holdings. He can. He is not required to, but he could if he chose. It is known that he and/or his wife own at least two homes—one with rental income in Vermont and one near Capitol Hill where the median home value is $722,000.”
O’Brien bases his conclusions about Sanders’ millionaire status on what is known and can be estimated about his salary, the income of his wife, joint income, investments, pension, and value of his real estate properties.
On top of this, O’Brien notes that Sanders benefits from a multi-million dollar U.S. Senate staff and a multi-million dollar U.S. presidential campaign staff.
In addition to the questions about his real net worth, Jane Sanders’ exit from Burlington College continues to generate controversy, even scandal. She was president of the college from 2004 until 2011.
Federal officials have acknowledged the complaint about Jane Sanders from attorney Brady C. Toensing, but they won’t say whether they are going forward with an investigation.
Although Senator Sanders frequently complains about the “corporate media” that are supposed to have a bias against his candidacy, the necessary task of digging into the finances of his wife has been left to the conservative media and some local Vermont news organizations.
At the very least—as noted by Bruce Parker, a Vermont reporter for Watchdog.org—Senator Sanders should be asked to explain how his opposition to severance packages for corporation executives squares with his wife getting a cushy severance of $200,000.
In a story headlined, “Bernie Sanders’ Wife May Have Defrauded State Agency, Bank,” reporters Blake Neff and Peter Fricke of the conservative Daily Caller News Foundation reported the essential facts of the case, noting that she nearly bankrupted Burlington College when she took on $10 million in debt to finance the purchase of a new, far more expansive campus. “The move backfired massively, leading to Sanders’ departure from the college and the near-collapse of the institution,” Neff and Fricke report.
By any standard of fair and objective news reporting, a candidate who promises “free college” to America’s young people should be asked to address the issue of his wife’s financial shenanigans almost bankrupting an institution of higher learning. But it hasn’t been raised in the debates.
At one point it was reported that Burlington College was fighting for its very survival. “As a result of its financial woes, Burlington College is on academic probation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges,” reportedVTDigger.org, a statewide news website, in 2014.
VT Digger confirmed the nefarious role played by Jane Sanders, noting that she “overstated donation amounts in a bank application for a $6.7 million loan that was used by the college to purchase a prime 33-acre property on Lake Champlain in 2010.” Jane Sanders “resigned under pressure from the Burlington College board of trustees nearly a year after obtaining the multi-million dollar loan,” the site reported. “After both sides lawyered up, the board gave Sanders the title of president emeritus and a $200,000 severance package.”
A Republican activist named Skip Vallee produced a 60-second television advertisement entitled, “Bernie’s Golden Parachute,” describing the nature of the $200,000 severance package and making the point that while Sanders was planning a presidential run “on a theme of railing against golden parachutes and excesses” on Wall Street, he took “his own golden parachute” through his wife’s curious dealings with the cash-strapped college.
The ad features the “S” in Sanders in the shape of a dollar sign and shows Sanders saying the rich in America “manipulate a rigged system” and benefit from “golden parachutes.”
On top of this scandal, The Washington Free Beacon has reported that Senator Sanders used campaign money to benefit members of his family, and that Jane Sanders directed six-figure sums from Burlington College to her daughter and the son of a family friend.
“Getting money out of politics” is one of the planks in Sanders’ presidential campaign platform.
February 6, 2016
So many issues, so little time, which is why I am studiously avoiding any issues about Hillary other than that voice!
I am definitely not going into the terminal dishonesty thing, you know, when she told the American public, and also the parents of the murdered victims in Benghazi, that the four patriots who lost their lives to a savage Islamic attack was because of an anti-Islam video; that Wall St. and specifically Goldman-Sachs is not donating to her campaign and that, according to Dick Morris, FEC reports say that Hillary has received $21.4 million from the financial and insurance industry—almost 15 percent of the total $157.8 million she raised, and she’s still trolling them for big money.”
How about that she won a smashing victory in Iowa (by six coin tosses that magically landed in her favor)? Dozens of websites have catalogued Hillary’s lies, starting decades ago with her debut on the political scene. Also here and here and don’t miss this one. Not going there.
I’m definitely not going into the incompetence thing, the colossal failure of her secretly-conducted socialized-medicine initiative as First Lady, her stunning lack of accomplishments in the U.S. Senate, or, most damning, the dangerous state of the entire world under her tenure as Secretary of State, which has resulted in a chaotic, devolving Europe, saturated in Islamic-terrorism; a catastrophic Middle East, also inundated with Islamic terrorism; and the mysterious loss of six-billion dollars! Uh uh, not going there.
Also definitely not going into the crook thing, the perjury thing, the slush fund thing vis-à-vis The Clinton Foundation and the zillions she extorted—oops, accepted—from thug nations and tin-pot dictators throughout the world while, ahem, representing our country. Or the e-mail thing and the threats to our national security her fecklessness brought about, or the laughable denials, or looming Leavenworth. Not going there.
Most definitely not going into the abused-wife syndrome, the paranoid streak, the harassment and attempts to destroy the women assaulted by her, ahem, better half, or the laughable notion of her being a role model for any woman, much less the millions of American women who earned their way without the taint of scandal and criminality. Sooo not going there!
And definitely not going into Hillary’s disturbing laugh, which according to writer Elspeth Reeve, has been covered extensively. A few years ago, Reeve cited the National Journal which compiled “The Comprehensive Supercut of Hillary Clinton Laughing Awkwardly with Reporters” and The Washington Free Beacon, which created “Hillary Clinton’s Interview Tour: A Laughing Matter,” to name but two out of hundreds of articles that have covered Hillary’s aberrational trait over the years. Nope, not going there.
WHERE I AM GOING
For years I’ve wondered what that clap-your-hands-over-your-ears assault weapon is that emanates from Hillary Clinton’s mouth, specifically her wince-evoking, cringe-producing, decibel-shattering voice.
I don’t mean ear-splitting shrillness or the screech of a banshee, although God knows those are prominently featured in her vocal repertoire, but rather the shriek-like, hectoring tone that suggests that Hillary was born without the normal fluttering of the vocal cords, a function that helps to moderate speech sounds. This results in campaign speech in which every promise sounds menacing. Quite a feat!
I’m going to produce more jobs, Hillary says, get incomes rising again, make Obamacare work, improve early-childhood education, pay down student debt, fight for more abortions (oops, “defend a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions”), on and on, and yet every word comes out sounding like the patronizing, finger-wagging lecture of a screech-owl harpy.
Hillary fan Geraldo Rivera speculates that this unfortunate trait might result from a hearing loss, the kind that makes people who don’t hear very well think that other people need to be shrieked at to hear their message.
Steven Hayward from Powerline.com simply describes her pronouncements as “cackling.”
Writer Elspeth Reeve asks: why do so many people hate the sound of Hillary’s voice? “It’s just so loud and annoying. Or maybe it’s like a nagging wife…inauthentic‚and that phony Southern accent! Those flat Midwestern vowels! Whatever it is, her voice is burned into your brain.” Maybe “she sometimes SPEAKS SO LOUDLY in hopes of conveying ENERGY and FORCEFULNESS.”
Republican pollster Frank Luntz explains to Sean Hannity: “Forget the words. Listen to the way she communicates. It’s ALL AT THE SAME LEVEL…her voice turns people off. Because they feel like they’re being lectured.”
Journalist Peggy Noonan compares Hillary to an irritating landlord. “She lately reminds me of the landlady yelling up the stairs that your kids left their bikes in the hall again.”
According to writer Kathy Miller, Hillary hired a voice and drama coach, Michael Sheehan, after her last unsuccessful presidential run in 2008, paying him $7,500. Yoo hoo, Hillary, ever consider a malpractice suit?
THEN THERE’S THE AFFECT THING
A person’s emotional affect is simply the way they display their feelings. They can be manic or flat, bubbly or dour, sincere or snarky, relaxed or intense, serious or light-hearted, on and on.
Once you see someone three or five or 10 times, you “get” what they’re all about. Unless, they have distinctly different affects…the stern executive during the day and the party girl at night; the all-American dad on the weekends and the internet troller of child porn during his working day.
Most of us fall along this spectrum. But few of us, in our travels, change our speech patterns when we go from state to state.
Not so of Hillary, who segues from high-falutin’ Wellesley girl when she’s courting East Coast donors to plantation Southerner when she’s addressing a black audience, for instance when she cited the hymn of James Cleveland: “Ah don’t feel nowhere tired….” Talk about cringe-producing!
Then there’s her affect of sincerity—eyes a little too wide open, gaze a little too fixed, head a little too bobbling, smile a little too plastered, the tacit message a little too “get me away from these irritating hicks!”
And there, too, is old Bubba, standing behind her…stooped, skinny, wizened, looking not a little out of the loop, applauding on cue, still too narcissistic to want her to win, but still counting on her to perpetuate the gigantic Ponzi scheme they created.
NATURE VS. NURTURE?
Was Hillary born with that weaponized voice of hers, or did she acquire it along the way? My bet is on the latter. It’s not uncommon for people who are essentially—when all the layers of the onion are peeled back—inauthentic to appropriate behaviors of other people, the better to make themselves appear to be the real thing.
It’s as if Hillary looked around and observed how a regular person or even an animated character acts when he or she is angry or impassioned or wants to get a point across or appeal to someone, and she said to herself, “Aha, I’ll take Alec Baldwin’s anger from Column A, Ida B. Robinson’s passion from Column B, Johnny Appleseed’s ardor from Column C,” on and on, and then adopts whichever behavior fits the occasion.
But it never works, never comes across as authentic because, well, it isn’t! Hence the strangely hyena-like laugh, the hectoring tone, the weird meet-and-greet affect, and, occasionally, the bursts of raw anger—“What difference does it make?”—in which the public gets a vivid and decidedly unpretty picture of what lies beneath the phony façade.
WHERE IS THIS ALL GOING?
Looming over the entire Clinton agenda is ole genuine Bernie Sanders, grabbing the young vote, the far-left vote, the entitlement vote, the socialist and communist votes, and now we learn the woman vote, effectively telling the largely anti-Semitic world that American Democrats prefer a Brooklyn-born Jew to a female career-politician with an alienating affect, a scandal-ridden past and present, and indictments of downright treason hanging over her head,
Yes, Hillary’s dishonesty thing looms large with voters, as does her incompetence thing and crook thing and abused-wife thing and weird laugh thing,
But nothing is as predictive of her ultimate defeat as the voice thing, even though she can’t help it, anymore than someone afflicted with barnacles. Millions of people may want a woman in the White House, so much that they overlook Hillary’s Mt. Everest heights of deficits and failures. In and of itself, as even her advocates grudgingly admit, living with that voice for the next four years will compel every man in America to buy earplugs and every woman in America to wonder what the entire estrogen fetish was all about.
I predict that nothing—not the trendiest public-relations firms or the most credentialed drama coaches—will stop the American public from voting against Ms. Hillary because of that voice!
By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media
The media’s double standard has been on full display with a number of softball interviews and a staged CNN town hall held for the Democratic presidential candidates. The left-wing mainstream media are waiting to crown Hillary Clinton, even before the votes are in. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in particular, recently interviewed Hillary Clinton about her close victory in the recent Iowa caucuses.
At the very least you would have to say that the thrill up his leg that Matthews used to get for President Obama is now firmly in place for Mrs. Clinton. Matthews’ performance was no journalistic interview. Instead, it was a mutual love-in with Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general. It was as if Matthews was unaware of any of the developments in EmailGate or the Benghazi scandal, both of which have been very public. Yet Matthews uttered nary a word on his sycophantic network, MSNBC, about the substance of any of Hillary’s scandals.
Instead, he showered Mrs. Clinton with praise. “You know I think everybody should’ve been impressed, maybe I wasn’t impressed as I should have been—but everybody should have been about the way you handled New Hampshire last time around,” said Matthews to Mrs. Clinton.
Despite the fact that Matthews, and the rest of the mainstream media, would prefer to ignore the latest revelations in EmailGate, the drip, drip, drip of scandal continues. The day after Matthews’ interview with Mrs. Clinton, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum interviewed Republican Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) about Mrs. Clinton’s email controversy.
Stewart, a former Air Force B1 bomber pilot, is now a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He has seen the latest batch of Hillary’s emails marked Top Secret, and pointed out that there were more than just the 22 emails reported earlier. The total now comes to 29 emails that the State Department will not release.
Stewart was shocked at what he saw when he reviewed these emails.
“[These emails] do reveal classified methods, they do reveal classified sources, and they do reveal human assets,” said Congressman Stewart on Fox News. “I can’t imagine how anyone could be familiar with these emails, whether they’re sending them or receiving them, and not realize that these are highly classified.”
“Did Hillary Clinton demonstrate the judgment and the respect for protocol that would allow her to protect national security?” asked Rep. Stewart. “And when I read these emails and when I see how she has exposed some of the most sensitive information or potentially exposed that, I don’t know how we can say that she has demonstrated that judgment.”
Stuart condemned claims that the controversy over Mrs. Clinton’s private email server is a “right-wing conspiracy.”
“For heaven’s sakes, this is where Obama administration officials who have told us that these emails were so classified they can’t be released,” he said. “This wasn’t something that’s coming from the right; it’s coming from this current administration,” Congressman Stewart added. “So her argument isn’t with me, it’s with the President and with his administration regarding that.”
It was the Obama-appointed Inspector General who stated that some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were Top Secret, and an Obama administration State Department that has concurred. As we reported, some of these emails contained material so highly classified that even the Inspector General’s team wasn’t originally cleared to see them.
But apparently few reporters in the mainstream media saw Rep. Stewart’s interview, or had any interest in hearing his perspective. You see, it’s only Fox News that cares about such trivial nonsense.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler did note Stewart’s interview, but did so only in order to contradict his assertions. “Other sources who have viewed the emails do not describe the emails as strongly [as Congressman Stewart], though one official said Clinton’s aides might have put their security clearances at risk,” writes Kessler.
Kessler’s piece gave only two Pinocchios out of a possible four to Mrs. Clinton for her claims about how she handled classified materials on her private server. In the same Fact Checker column, Kessler cited a George Stephanopoulos interview with Mrs. Clinton. And while we’ve criticized Stephanopoulos in the past for his failure to note his conflicts of interest when it comes to the Clintons—including his obvious partisanship on her behalf by failing to ask her the tough questions—he does deserve some credit for a question he raised on his ABC show last Sunday. He talked about a non-disclosure agreement that Mrs. Clinton signed as secretary of state. This made it clear that whether or not the material is “marked classified” is “not that relevant,” since she has been “trained to treat all of that sensitively and should know the difference.”
Mrs. Clinton gave a nonsensical answer, stating at first that “Well of course and that’s exactly what I did. I take classified information very seriously.” And then in the same answer she reverted to her tired defense: “And when you receive information, of course, there has to be some markings, some indication that someone down the chain thought that this was classified, and that was not the case.” She’s trying to have it both ways.
I have reported extensively on the Hillary Clinton email scandal. And, yes, Mrs. Clinton did apologize—sort of. She apologized for using one device for her emails instead of two while she served for four years as secretary of state.
“As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” said Clinton in an ABC News interview last September. At a recent January town hallstaged by CNN, Mrs. Clinton insisted that she wasn’t “willing to say it was an error in judgment because what—nothing that I did was wrong. It was not—it was not in any way prohibited.”
In Thursday night’s debate on MSNBC, Chuck Todd asked about the emails, but not in any substantive way. He asked her, “So can you reassure these Democrats that somehow the email issue isn’t going to blow up your candidacy if you’re the nominee?” She said, “Absolutely I can. You know, before it was emails, it was Benghazi, and the Republicans were stirring up so much controversy about that.”
He then asked, “Are you 100 percent confident that nothing is going to come of this FBI investigation?” She replied, “I am 100 percent confident.” What does Mrs. Clinton know that the rest of us don’t? Has she been assured by the Obama administration that no indictment will be forthcoming? After all, President Obama emailed directly to her private email address on a number of occasions, and could get caught up in the scandal as well. Plus, indicting Hillary would create a civil war in the Democratic Party, perhaps opening the door to a Biden run, or a massive defeat in November.
Where is the apology for failing to turn over her emails in a timely fashion when she left office, or for doing business on an unsecured “home brew” server unprotected from Chinese, Iranian and Russian hackers? Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense under both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said that “the odds are pretty high” that Mrs. Clinton’s home brew server was compromised by China, Russia and Iran.
Instead, Mrs. Clinton has absurdly claimed that her server was secure becauseSecret Service agents were guarding the property.
Mrs. Clinton was also caught lying about whether she had turned over all her work-related emails when Sidney Blumenthal’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi revealed additional business-related emails that she had not sent to the State Department.
The drip, drip, drip of scandal has only gotten worse over time. We have now learned that there were more than 1,300 emails containing classified information that were either sent to or from her email server, classified as Top Secret, and some were classified as the even more secret Special Access Programs.
“You were out there on that arena, I remember you standing in I think it was a fieldhouse,” said Matthews during his softball interview with Clinton. “And you went on and on and on, it went on for five hours. It was incredible, it was a marathon, answering every single question of everyone in that room… Are you going to try to match that performance this time?”
No doubt Mrs. Clinton will be more than happy to answer further questions from the mainstream media. If Matthews’ interview and Chuck Todd’s debate questions are any indication, she knows that pertinent questions about her worst scandals won’t even be mentioned.